On 13 May 2022, in Zagreb, Croatia, the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, met with the State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Croatia, Andreja Metelko Zgombić, for a discussion on bilateral cooperation between Latvia and Croatia, Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the provision of the required support to Ukraine, and other issues of current relevance.
Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica praised the good bilateral relations. Latvia is interested in the strengthening of bilateral relations with Croatia in a number of fields, the Parliamentary Secretary underlined.
The conversation focused on Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica pointed out that the international community must be prepared for various scenarios, also a prolonged war in Ukraine: “It is necessary to continue a strong and coordinated diplomatic, political and economic pressure on Russia to limit Russia’s abilities to finance and maintain its aggression.” The need was discussed to agree on the next round of sanctions against Russia also targeting the country’s energy sector.
Referring to support for Ukraine, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica emphasised that the EU and its Member States must continue providing support for Ukraine in every way possible. Ukraine’s victory in this war is the only possible scenario to ensure peace and stability. The Parliamentary Secretary also expressed support for the work of the International Criminal Court and the overall efforts to document war crimes committed by Russia.
The officials were in agreement about the increasing strategic importance of the European Union’s enlargement. At this time, the vulnerability of the Western Balkans region comes especially apparent along with the need for its integration into the political, economic, social and security area of the EU, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica underlined.
The parties also discussed economic contacts between Latvia and Croatia and the potential for cooperation in the field of smart technologies and in international organisations. This will help ensure the international order based on rules set by the communities of like-minded countries. The Parliamentary Secretary also expressed support for Croatia’s plans to join the Schengen Area and the euro area, thereby enhancing the EU’s stability and competitiveness.
As part of her visit to Zagreb, the Parliamentary Secretary took part in a seminar, “Saving democracy from itself”, arranged by Friends of Europe, an EU think-tank, on the action that needs to be taken to strengthen and safeguard democracy, the fight against extreme polarisation, and the most acute current and future challenges faced by the EU.